Category Archives: Archive

Novice Neurosurgeons Train On Brains Printed In 3-D

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A simulated patient at the University of Malaya makes use of different
materials to mimic the look and feel of   human tissue. Credit / Courtesy of Vicknes Waran

There’s no such thing as too much practice when it comes to brain surgery. But it’s hard for beginner neurosurgeons to get real hands-on experience. Most residents learn by watching and assisting experienced surgeons.

Newbies can practice on cadavers or use simulators, of course. But neither of those alternatives is quite the same as operating on a real, live patient, for better and for worse.

That’s why 3-D printers might help the doctors do a better job. At the University of Malaya in Malaysia, neurosurgeons are using 3-D printers to make realistic skulls and brains that residents can use to hone their skills.

Learn more online.

Nicholas Wilkie: Medical Student, App Creator

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Imagine you’re a physician with a disaster-relief group. You’ve bounced over bad roads to get to a remote cholera clinic, leaving behind Internet and cell-tower access. You keep careful medical records of patients by typing the information into your shirt-pocket smartphone. Once in range, your phone (and those of your colleagues at other remote clinics) uploads these records to a central server, where the data may not only benefit your patients in the future, but also help decision-makers monitor the outbreak all over the region.

Thanks in part to UVM medical student Nicholas Wilkie, that scenario may soon be reality. As a volunteer with the humanitarian-aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders), Wilkie is developing software that stores cholera patients’ medical records on a smartphone.

The third-year student, who is also a veteran programmer, was inspired to write to MSF in June 2011, after hearing Professor of Surgery Bruce Leavitt, M.D.’81 share his experiences with MSF in Nigeria and Sri Lanka. In those field hospitals, Leavitt says, the patient’s surgical record consisted of handwritten notes in manila folders. “At the end of the day, they’d pile them up in a room in a corner,” he recalls. Wilkie approached Leavitt with his idea.

Getting the green light from Doctors Without Borders

Wilkie then found his way to Thang Dao, MSF’s Switzerland-based director of information services. His timing was fortuitous, as MSF was in the process of changing how it managed patient information. Soon he had written a crucial piece of software, one that gets central computers running OpenMRS and far-flung Androids to talk to each other. “It will send electronic health information in a cogent way to the server and record it the way that we want it to,” Wilkie explains.

Dao was so impressed that he invited the student to meet with him and his colleagues in Geneva to discuss adapting the design for doctors responding to cholera outbreaks. “We are one of the few organizations in the world that can deal on a large scale with cholera epidemics,” said Dao. “What was missing for us was how to collect data quickly, and closest to the sources of contamination — which is to say in the villages.”

“Nick is one of these people who can launch himself in very thick snow and make a track for us,” says Dao.

Reposted from the UVM College of Medicine website.

Save the Dates for Puppy Happy Hour

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The College of Medicine Student Council is proud to announce that Puppy Happy Hour has finally arrived! Dogs from Therapy Dogs of Vermont will be in the Dana Medical Library classroom from 6:30-7:30pm on Wednesday April 23rd. Please stop by for some puppy love!

Puppy happy hour is a stress reduction program aimed towards giving students an opportunity to take their minds off school with the benefit of therapy dogs.

How to Access the Library after 9pm

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All active UVM Faculty/Staff and FAHC Resident House Staff have access to the North Concourse (door on the Concourse that leads into FAHC) and to the West door that faces Converse Hall. Library access is automatically assigned.

However, these doors lock at 9:00pm; after which you will need either an authorized UVM ID or an authorized FAHC Proximity Card.

Residents can go to the CatCard office for a UVM ID that can be swiped from the FAHC side to get in to the concourse after 9pm.

FAHC personnel can contact FAHC Security to request a Proximity card for access through the North Concourse door into FAHC.

Both doors are limited to library hours only: it is not 24×7 access.

Match Day!

Match Day, class of 2012. Danielle Scribner.

Congratulations to all our 2014 graduates!

Match Day is the culmination of four challenging and arduous years and, in some ways, is the most exciting day of the Medical School experience. Students receive notice of their residency matches beginning at Noon (EST) p.m. on the third Friday of March.

By UVM tradition, names are randomly selected by the Associate Dean for Students and, as each person receives the envelope, he or she places a dollar in a fishbowl. The last person called gets to keep all the money as a reward for their patience in the face of high anxiety.

The medical school sponsors a reception for students immediately following the Match Day Ceremony. The celebration then continues at a variety of local establishments.

To be announced: Class of 2014 students and their matching residencies. Use this link to view the Class of 2014 Match Day, streaming LIVE. Photo Gallery will be posted shortly after the event.

Dana Celebrates UVM Women’s HERStory Month

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The Dana Medical Library is currently displaying “American Women in Medicine and Health Care Sciences” in celebration of UVM Women’s HERStory Month. The exhibit highlights some of the extraordinary achievements and famous firsts by women, and is on view throughout the month of March 2014. The exhibit is also on display at the College of Medicine Hoehl Gallery in the Given Medical building.

smallbooks The exhibit also features a small collection of books relevant to the exhibit including, The Tangled Field by Nathaniel Comfort which chronicles the genetic research of Barbara McClintock; Carolyn Skinner’s, Women & Professional Ethos in Nineteenth Century America; and Mary Eliza Mahoney and the Legacy of African-American Nurses by Susan Muaddi Darraj. These books will be available to check out on April 1, 2014.

Technology Upgrades for the Library Classroom

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Over the winter break many technological upgrades were made to the projector, screen and podium in the Library Classroom in order to improve the teaching and learning experience. Students will now have a larger screen that is clearer and easier to read, and instructors will be able to project content from their favorite devices, including tablets and laptops. All technological changes were made with a focus on flexibility. Good teaching and learning happens in a variety of modalities and environments, so having spaces that are flexible enough to accommodate those differences was a priority in planning the upgrades.

Most noticeable is the now very large screen. A new Eiki screen, 87 X 139 inches, or 164 inches diagonally, was installed. The larger screen is more visible from the back of the room and displays a clearer image.

The old projector was replaced with a new, significantly brighter projector, making the images projected onto the screen crisper and more detailed than before. The new projector can also project HD 1080p quality video in wide screen format, which makes it compatible with DVD movies and wide-screen PowerPoint presentations. It is also much more flexible than the old projector, and can accommodate other devices, such as tablets.

The electronics in the podium, except for the computer, have been completely upgraded. The VCR has been removed and a new DVD player that is capable of reading multiple formats (DVD Video/MP3/WMA/WAV, etc.) has been added. In addition, instructors can now plug in devices that are HDMI compatible (such as the iPad) in addition to just the standard VGA. Finally, there is a new Crestron touch screen control panel to run all of the technology in the podium. The new electronics in the podium can also be expanded to adapt to new technology, which will give instructors greater flexibility going forward.

Dana also obtained a new Sharp 55″ High Definition flat panel monitor mounted on a movable cart so that it can be moved from room to room as needed. Instructors and students can plug their laptops into the panel and display what is on their laptop on the monitor. Dana librarians foresee using this set up with smaller groups of people when the big screen would be too overwhelming.

As classes settle into this new space, Dana education librarian, Gary Atwood, who oversaw the project, will be surveying instructors and students alike for feedback on these technological improvements.

Retirement in Interlibrary Loan Department

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Marie McGarry, Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Specialist, retires on February 28, 2014 after 29 years of service for the University of Vermont. Marie came to the Dana Medical Library in January of 1985. Initially working in cataloging, Marie then moved to ILL Borrowing, where she filled requests from UVM and Fletcher Allen patrons for materials to be borrowed from other libraries or institutions. Marie has borrowed books and other materials from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia, and is known for filling requests at lightning speed. ILL regularly receives requested journal articles as quickly as 4 hours after the request has been placed. Marie has been particularly good at meeting patron needs for high quality materials delivered quickly, and she does so while saving the Library money but never sacrificing quality patron service.

Many health sciences area patrons appreciate her work. In a recent survey of Dana ILL users, 87% indicated that being able to borrow materials for patient care, research or academic work was “essential”, with 13% rating it “very important.” Many respondents commented positively on Interlibrary Loan. “Being able to… request articles from the [Interlibrary Loan] service is absolutely critical to the teaching mission,” said one respondent. Another noted, “This [Interlibrary Loan] service is so efficient and reliable, I really depend on it to keep me up to date on related research, etc.” Speed of delivery was also rated as important and commented on by survey respondents. One respondent said, “I have been amazed that many of my ILL requests are filled the same day.”

Judging by patron feedback, Interlibrary Loan is an important service for all kinds of work: from student assignments to clinical practice. Dana Library is committed to continuing this high level of service, but there can be no denying that Marie has been a key member of the Interlibrary Loan team. She will be missed by colleagues and patrons alike. Dana Library faculty and staff wish her the very best in her new adventure of retirement!

Nationally Normed Survey Highlights Student and Faculty Success at Dana

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In April 2013 the Dana Medical Library and Bailey-Howe Library made the LIbQual+ Survey available to UVM and Fletcher Allen faculty, staff, and students. Thank you to the 942 individuals who completed the survey.

The Dana Medical Library is committed to providing high quality medical and health sciences information and services to our patrons. One tool available to libraries for assessing service quality is the LibQual+ Survey. The U.S. Association for Research Libraries developed and rigorously tested this web-based survey. It has been used by more than 1,200 libraries, including University of Massachusetts, Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and SUNY Stony Brook.

The survey asked for patrons to indicate their minimum acceptable service level, their desired service level, and the level of service they perceive for 22 attributes.

The three attributes that Dana Library patrons were most satisfied with were:

  1. Employees who are consistently courteous
  2. Willingness to help users
  3. Readiness to respond to users’ questions.

Dana Library patrons indicated that their three most desired service attributes are:

  1. Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
  2. The electronic information resources I need
  3. Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office

Mean scores for Dana Library services exceeded the minimum acceptable service level for all 22 attributes, including the three most desired attributes listed above.

Dana Medical Library also has data from its 2009 LibQual+ survey. Almost all scores were higher in 2013, but two specific changes stand out. First, survey results from 2013 indicated an increased score for “Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions.” Second, the scores for “Community space for group learning and group study,” while not large in 2009 or 2013, were higher in 2013.

Stay tuned for Dana Library’s plans to use the data from the 2013 LibQual+ Survey, including information gleaned from survey comments.

Donna O’Malley, MLS
donna.omalley@uvm.edu